Snow Blower vs Snow Thrower: What’s the Difference?

snow blower vs snow thrower header

Are snow blowers and snow throwers the same machine? At first glance, it seems like one of those distinctions that marketers use to up the price. However, there are differences, and learning what they are will help you pick the machine that best suits your needs.

Snow throwers are single-stage machines. They pick up snow at great speed and then use that speed to expel the snow out of a nozzle that shoots it away. Snow blowers, on the other hand, are two-stage machines. In the first stage, they pick up the snow. In the second stage, a motor-driven part called an impeller launches the snow away from the machine.

This means that snow blowers will move snow greater distances. They also tend to be a bigger, wider, and more powerful. You’ll generally get the job done more quickly with a snow blower than a snow thrower. Snow blowers are also better at dealing with slushy, compacted, or tall snowbanks.

Snow throwers aren’t great for heavy snow, but if you’re mostly going to be clearing small, dry snowbanks, then there’s no need for a snow blower. The best thing you can do is pick the machine based on how much snowfall you expect to have so that you don’t end up with too much or too little power.

Snow Blowers We Recommend:

Our favorite – Husqvarna ST224 24-Inch

The Husqvarna ST224 is an excellent model, plowing through the toughest slushy, compacted, or tall, snowbanks with ease. Even if you’re not dealing with snow that tough, the extra power means you can work through easier snow quicker than with other models. It’s self-propelled which saves you a lot of exertion while you work. There is only one reverse gear, however, and most people will find it too slow for their liking.

You’re going to be working in cold weather, and the heated handle grips and electric starter make that job much less unpleasant. This model can’t even be stopped by the dark, as it comes with strong LED headlights. It’s hard to go wrong with this model, as it can power through even the toughest snow conditions with ease.

Pros
  • Power
  • Heated handle grips
  • Electric starter
  • LED headlights
Cons
  • Slow reverse gear

Best for the money – YARDMAX YB5765

YARDMAX Two-Stage Snow Blower - 22', 24', 26'
122 Customer Reviews
YARDMAX Two-Stage Snow Blower - 22", 24", 26"
  • 18" snow clearing width
  • Removes snow up to 11" deep
  • Powered by an 87cc 4-cycle engine

The YARDMAX YB5765 has incredible value, providing a steel-framed snow blower at a plastic price-point. It has great power, easily plowing through difficult snow conditions. There is no electric start option on the 22-inch model, though, you could always upgrade to a 24-inch or 26-inch model if you feel you must have the electric start. However, it appears to start just fine, even in cold conditions, without it.

Know that if you buy this model, you’re going to end up doing a lot of assembly. Depending on your skill, it may take up to an hour to get this bad boy put together. That being said, it’s a one-time time cost that will leave you with a great snow blower that should give you excellent service for years.

Pros
  • Power
  • Easy to start
  • All-steel frame
Cons
  • Difficult assembly

Snow Throwers We Recommend:

Our favorite – Briggs & Stratton 1696737

Sale
Briggs & Stratton 1696737 Single Stage Snow...
148 Customer Reviews
Briggs & Stratton 1696737 Single Stage Snow...
  • 22-Inch wide clearing path with a 12.5-Inch intake height
  • 950 snow series 208Cc engine with 9.50-Foot-pounds of torque
  • Recoil start & synthetic oil for easy starting

The Briggs & Stratton 1696737 is our favorite snow thrower. It’s ready to deal with most snow conditions, as it features a SnowShredder Auger designed to break up difficult snow formations, and in some cases, ice as well. It features an electric start for those times when it’s supremely cold.

It’s also easy-to-assemble right out of the box so that you can get to work in no time. If you’re wearing mittens or gloves, it has you covered, with oversized controls that are easy to hit. The exhaust angle is a bit weird and depending on your height; there’s a chance it blows back into your face, though this is more of a risk if you’re short. Overall, there’s a lot to love about the Briggs & Stratton 1696737.

Pros
  • Electric start
  • Oversized controls
  • SnowShredder Auger
  • Quick Assembly
Cons
  • Exhaust angle

Best for the money – WEN 5662 Snow Blaster

The WEN 5662 is very easily assembled, allowing you to get started almost as soon as you receive the machine. In the right conditions, it throws snow further than many comparable electric models, making it the best value for the money.

However, you’re not always going to be working in optimal conditions for electric machines. This unit is prone to clogging if the snow is slushy or compacted. How much you like this machine is going to be dependent on what conditions you use it in.

If you’re mostly going to be dealing with light, dry snowfall, it would be hard to find a model that better suits you. If you’re going to deal with more difficult snows, you should consider other models.

Pros
  • Quick assembly
  • Good snow throw distance
Cons
  • Struggles with slush

Conclusion

The Husqvarna ST224 is our favorite snow blower because of its excellent power and secondary features. The YARDMAX YB5765 has the best value and excellent durability for its price point. The Briggs & Stratton 1696737 is our favorite snow thrower, featuring oversized controls and a SnowShredder Auger that should beat the toughest snows into submission. The WEN 5662 is the best for the money, with good snow throw distance and quick assembly.

We hope that this guide has helped you understand the differences between a snow blower and a snow thrower. It’s not always easy to shop online, but you should now be able to pick the machine that will best suit your needs.

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About the Author Adam Harris

Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!